Beautifully crafted lyrics from singer-songwriter with Americana flavours
‘The Winemakers Daughter’ is the debut album from Charlottesville VA singer-songwriter Will Overman, following his 2017 EP release ‘Crossroads’. Its nine tracks are inspired by both the hard knocks and better times of his last three years, but he successfully avoids the classic singer-songwriter pitfalls, as his experiences have inspired great songs, not just a retelling of this period of his life.
Lyrics are powerful and evocative throughout, no more so than on closing track ‘Miss California’, inspired by his wife’s recovery from cancer. Soft, almost whispered vocals are tender and conversational, as Overman sings “The sky was fallin’, I was calling you darlin’/stars are colliding I say they’re aligning/I was meant to die in your arms”, and “City of Angels, city of devils/went through hell in paradise/but darling I’d do it all over/If it gets you here alive/let’s drink to this, “Miss California you’re alright””. The gentle and atmospheric arrangement, with a simple drum pulse, acoustic guitar, steel guitar and keys is perfectly suited to the lyrics, and an extended instrumental outro gradually fading out over the last minute is a clever production twist.
Americana flavours colour the tracks throughout, ranging from the prominent steel guitar on opening track ‘Bad Apartment’ to banjo and mandolin on title track ‘The Winemakers Daughter’, an ode to his wife and their courtship “Baby bring on the rains, baby bring on the thunder/gonna make you my wife, one day you might be a mother/time may change a few things, we’re heading for open water/oh it’s just me and you babe, the Winemaker’s Daughter”.
On ‘Marine Street’ the arrangement is a stripped back acoustic guitar with harmonica fills and solo, as Overman reflects on his wife’s illness “There ain’t no “Cancer for Dummies”/life ain’t a plot from Nancy Drew/there’s no right way to deal with the wrong/to get past you gotta go right through”.
‘Living Wage’ takes us to a more full on Nashville arrangement, electric guitar and lap steel part of a full band sound, with banjo and mandolin, but again ones ear is drawn to the well crafted lyrics: “It’s time to get up, time to get straight/time to show that woman I mean what I say/I put a ring on her finger, I’m already halfway/if I could live on love her smile would be my living wage”.
Vocals are warm and characterful throughout, and always at the front of the mix, with all the albums songs taking a slow to mid-tempo pace. An excellent debut from a fine singer-songwriter.